The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will decide if state law requires Workers’ Compensation Insurance to pay for a millworker’s medical marijuana or if the insurer could be charged as an accessory in a drug deal under federal law.
Justices are set to hear arguments in the case Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, which will be the first time the state’s highest court has considered the question of insurance reimbursement for the cost of medical marijuana.
The case pits a former Madawaska mill employee, injured on the job, against the company that administers the mill’s insurance for injured workers.
Gaetan Bourgoin, now 58, of Madawaska, in 2015 sought reimbursement for medical marijuana prescribed for pain due to a back injury suffered in 1989 when he was 29 and working at what is now Twin Rivers Paper Co.
Bourgoin tried a variety of opioid-based painkillers over the years without relief, according to briefs filed in Portland.
In 2015, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board ordered that Sedgwick Claims Management Services of Memphis, the third party that administers Two Rivers’ insurance